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News/Business. Keith Morrison, Josh Mankiewicz, Hoda Kotb. (2012) Ex-NFL cheerleader Sarah Jones and her former student Cody York talk about their sex scandal. (CC) (Stereo)

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Geico 7, Cheryl 7, Sara Jones 6, Us 6, Sara 6, Inman 6, Kentucky 4, Eric Deeters 2, Intermezzo 2, Cody York 2, Lester Holt 2, Julie Inman 1, Jim Hanna 1, Lindsay Vaughn 1, Nathan Wilbur 1, Dylan 1, Hotwire 1, Boston 1, Iraq 1, L.a. 1,
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  NBC    Dateline NBC    News/Business. Keith Morrison, Josh Mankiewicz, Hoda  
   Kotb.  (2012) Ex-NFL cheerleader Sarah Jones and her former...  

    January 21, 2013
    2:00 - 3:00am PST  

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>> repercussions for sara's own family. her mom indicted, too. >> i was in jail with my daughter. >> for the first time, the student is speaking out, too. and he didn't come alone. >> how does it feel to be sitting here today as a couple? >> i'm lester holt, and this is "dateline." tonight, "crossing the line." >> reporter: with her dazzling smile and provocative moves, hard to believe this nfl cheerleader was also a buttoned-up high school english teach teacher. accused of a felony sex crime. >> cheerleader, indicted. >> reporter: it's the story that had everyone talking this summer. sara jones painted as a predator who took advantage of a teenage boy, one of her own students. and in october, she faced a judge.
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>> state your name. >> sara elizabeth jones. >> this was not about sex, this was not about a hidden relationship. >> reporter: so what was this about? sara's defense team called it a modern day witch hunt. >> they're obsessed, in my humble opinion, with getting her. >> reporter: prosecutors called her a sex offender who knew what she did was wrong. >> the truth is going to come out. and i will bring it out. >> reporter: we'll go inside the case from sara's personal video journals -- >> i'm beyond terrified. >> reporter: -- to her outright denials. >> did you ever have sex with a student? >> no. >> reporter: now you'll hear from that teenage boy at the center of it all speaking exclusively to "dateline." >> when you heard the police were investigating, was it panic time? >> yes. i was a nervous wreck. i would just lay on my bed and cry. >> reporter: the juicy headlines would only skim the surface.
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this saga isn't just about student-teacher sex, it's about choices, sara's loyalty to the truth, parents' loyalty to their children. their choices would take them places they never wanted to go. and certainly a long way from where it all began. sara was born and raised in small-town kentucky. her dad, tim, ran a popular convenience store. her mom, cheryl, was a long-time teacher and school principal. >> reporter: what were you like as a kid? >> i was a happy kid. kind of busy. >> reporter: sara grew up in a close-knit family, all devout christians. they played together and prayed together. >> we would do things as a family and that's how i was raised. that's kind of what we focused
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on, is doing everything as a family. >> reporter: sara was homecoming queen and at the top of her class. and her parents were proud. >> it was a perfection thing that i wanted, to have straight a's and i was never going to settle for less. >> she is probably one of the most wholesome girls that you would find. >> she was going to graduate from high school, she was going to become a teacher, she was going to get married, she was going to have kids. >> the all-american life? >> absolutely. >> reporter: but when sara turned 20, she surprised everyone. she says, without telling her parents or anyone else, on a whim, she tried out for the nfl cincinnati bengals cheerleading squad. >> i believe there were like 400 girls that tried out and i ended up making it. i called my parents and said, oh, by the way, i cheer for the bengals. and they were like, okay, sara, right. not you. >> reporter: yes, her. but between cheers, sara was
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studying to build a career just like mom. >> i absolutely couldn't wait to get a degree in education and start teaching. >> when sara came to you and said, i want to be a teacher -- >> i was thrilled. when your child wants to follow in your good footsteps, you're thrilled. >> reporter: and right out of college, sara scored her dream job, teaching english here at dixie heights high in kentucky. she was just 23. >> i wanted those kids to love school, because school should be a good experience. >> reporter: but sara was a different kind of teacher. it wasn't just her age or personality. it was that flashy weekend job. >> it made me more marketable from the boys' standpoint because on monday they could come in and talk about the game, because i was there. >> reporter: but the girls? >> the girls were very jealous if any of their boyfriends were in my class. >> hard to ignore the obvious.
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a lot of people see the skimpy outfits, the sexy poses and a lot of people see the cheerleaders as sex objects. as a mom, does that bother you? >> i just really never thought of it that way. she's my kid. >> reporter: by age 24, sara seemed to have it all. a career she loved and a weekend job she adored. but the good times wouldn't last long. >> do you feel like being a cheerleader sort of put a target on your back at school? >> it 100% did. >> reporter: soon sara would realize just how big that target was. in late 2009, someone posted ugly rumors about her on the gossip website thedirty.com, saying she might have sexually transmitted diseases, stds. >> they said i had sex with the entire bengals footbal squad, that i had acquired two stds from a cheating boyfriend. >> completely false.
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>> completely fabricated. not true. my name was out there as being a promiscuous cheerleader, and it wasn't like you could brush it under the rug. it wasn't going away for me. >> reporter: and now the floodgates were open. before long, sara jones would face explosive new rumors, this time about sex with a student. and this time the police were listening. >> so what started out as hallway whispers was about to spill outside school grounds with a full-on police investigation. soon the cops were pulling sara out of the classroom and into the station house to interview her about the student at the center of the rumors. when we come back, how her answer to a pair of seemingly innocent questions blew the case wide open. >> then from you to cody? >> no. >> when "crossing the line" continues. and go back to sleep.
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cincinnati football fans knew sara jones as the captain and calendar cover girl of the bengals cheerleading squad. here she is visiting the troops in iraq. fellow cheerleader lindsay vaughn liked her from the start. >> smart, christian girl.
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she doesn't drink, doesn't party. probably totally opposite of what you think of when you think of an nfl glamorous hot cheerleader. >> when sara wasn't cheering, she was focusing on her job as a high schoolteacher. things were looking up at home, too. she had been dating the same guy on and off for ten years, nathan wilbur. >> you were in love with him. >> i was in love with him and planned on spending my life with him. >> it all seemed so normal, which is why a batch of ugly rumors about her posted on a gossip website was so jarring, suddenly all the students in school were talking about their teacher, miss jones. >> people are whispering in the hallways, tramp, slut. >> oh, yeah. >> what did this do to her? >> she was so upset. sara is a good actress. she can put on a great front,
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and it didn't affect her at school. it would affect her when she got home at night. >> sara went on the offensive, suing the website's owner. he denies liability and the suit is pending. sara also made her case on local radio. >> clearly, obviously, knowing myself that it was false information, i was devastated. >> but behind the scenes, sara had even bigger problems. her relationship with nathan was in trouble. they had set a wedding date, but she was getting cold feet. >> it was like a dream come true, only i was marrying the wrong person. >> did you know that then? >> i knew that then. >> at the altar, you knew you were marrying the wrong person? >> i knew i should not be getting married. i was walking down the aisle and my dad said, are you sure you want to do this? he said, we can walk out right now. >> why didn't you? >> i don't know. >> just six weeks later, the relationship fell apart. sara moved back in with her
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parents, divorced at 27. and now a new round of rumors was spreading around school that sara was sleeping with one of her students, a serious allegation. so serious it reached the school's front office. >> i was questioned by the administrator and basically this -- they had heard from a student that i had an inappropriate relationship with a student. >> sara denied it, and the school seemed to buy it. >> they investigated, looked into it. obviously, they found nothing and we went on with our day. >> but sara's mom, a principle -- principal in the same district, wanted answers of her own. >> did you sit sara down alone and say, look me in the eye. it's just us girls. what happened? >> yeah. >> what did she say? >> she said, mom, nothing has happened.
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we are friends. she assured me that there was nothing. >> no sex? >> nothing. >> did you ever have sex with a student? >> no. it was never like that, no. it was -- >> emotional? >> yes. >> but not sexual? >> it was never about that, never like that. >> but the rumors wouldn't die. by chance, the local police chief overheard them at a weekend party and called in his lead detective, julie inman. >> you know, here's what we have, here's what's being said. i want you to look into it. >> she didn't have much to work with, but she did have two names: sara jones and cody york, a mild-mannered 17-year-old who played baseball on the high school team. inman interviewed students who gave her sara and cody's cell numbers. inman pulled the phone records. >> there were over 575 phone calls between the two of them. you know, there was nothing that
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i could make sense of as to why a teacher and a student would be talking at 2:30 in the morning or on the weekend or as much as they were. >> a lot of calls. but what were they talking about? maybe their texts would tell her. so inman got the phone company to hand those over, too. and what she found. >> in just a month's time, there were over 8,000 text messages between sara and cody. the text messages were sexually explicit. they actually made me blush, reading them. >> detective inman now had ammunition, hard evidence something was going on. it was finally time to question sara jones herself, who brought her mother cheryl to the interview. >> sara, i want to let you know, first and foremost, that this is a voluntary interview. >> inman's strategy now? lock sara into a story and turn
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up the heat. do you know cody york? >> yeah. >> how do you know cody? >> i had cody his freshman year. >> i started asking questions of, have you ever sent a text message to cody york? >> no text messages from cody to you? >> no. >> nor from you to cody? >> no. >> she was denying any interaction with him. >> have you ever slept with cody? >> no. >> do you have any type of sexual relationship with cody york? >> no. >> have you ever in the past? >> no. >> had you ever talked on the phone, had text messages or e-mails or anything with any sexual content? >> no. >> detective inman was about to pounce, pulling out those steamy texts to knock sara off her game. >> these are text messages from cody's phone. >> where did you get these? >> what do you mean? >> where did you get these text
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messages from? >> i told her i had a search warrant that allowed me to get the text message content. >> are these your text messages? >> sara and cheryl read the text messages in silence. >> and cheryl immediately got on the phone to call their attorney. >> yeah. i don't know where these text messages came from, but we're not going to talk to anybody else. we're done. >> with that, the joneses ended the interview and their cooperation with police. that night sara wrote a resignation letter to the school and, she says, a suicide letter to her parents. >> to lose my job, to lose my marriage, to lose all these things was very, very destructive. and that night i had gone home and i didn't know how i was going to do it, and i wrote letters to my parents, i did a
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whole lot of things that i -- >> saying goodbye. >> yep. just i don't know why this is happening, but i don't want to deal with it anymore. >> sara's parents took that threat seriously and sent her to the hospital. after 48 hours on suicide watch, she was released. but the biggest blow was yet to come. police were about to make their move. >> coming up, sara had lied in her interview with the cops, and she was about to find out how much it would cost her. >> i didn't wrap my mind around it. i
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once again, as a rumor in her high school hallway had
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landed sara jones in a police interrogation room. >> this is a voluntary interview. >> questions about sex with one of her students, cody york. >> the rumors that we had been told and that we are wanting to clarify with you is that you and cody have slept together, have had sex together. is that true? >> no. >> have you ever slept with cody? >> no. i was shocked and scared because i knew at that point in time they had a misconstrued situation and that they thought something had happened that did not. >> but prosecutors were ready to charge her. in kentucky, the age of legal consent is 16. cody was 17. so even if he and sara had sex, it wasn't statutory rape. instead prosecutors used another law that says teachers can't have sex with students under 18. a grand jury indicted sara jones on first-degree sexual abuse and
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for using those text messages to lure him in. >> i didn't wrap my mind around it. i didn't even cry at first. it was deeper than that. there were no tears. and then my mom so calmly told me, and i've been charged, too. and i said, wait a minute, for what? >> cheryl jones, devoted mother, school principal had also been indicted, accused of tampering with evidence, trying to cover up her daughter's crimes by texting cody york to get rid of his cell phone before the cops came. >> i had no idea i was even considered for any kind of indictment. it totally floored me. >> they turned themselves in, and suddenly a new family portrait, mother-daughter mug shots, both thrown in the county jail. >> you were in jail with your daughter? >> i was in jail with my daughter. that's not one of the things that we had on our bucket list. >> the jones family scraped up
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the $80,000 cash bond, and hours later, they were out. >> i understand how severe a sex abuse crime case is, but i hadn't been convicted of anything. >> sara was placed on house arrest on an ankle bracelet, police monitoring her every move, even a walk to the mailbox. >> it's really frustrating to not have any restraints at all and then go completely restrained is very difficult, because it's just like -- you just want to go out. we're getting ready to lose the range so i can't go too much farther. >> tell me when to stop. >> i can go to about here. >> even when sara stayed in range, sometimes the alarm would go off. i'm getting a violation. >> right now? >> yeah. sorry. i'm here. everybody can vouch for that. >> why don't you keep that close so everything stays okay. >> we had been talking about the case and sara continued to
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maintain her innocence. >> what people think right now is that he was a student and we just got involved in a sexual relationship. not true. >> let me play devil's advocate. prosecutors are in the business of winning cases. prosecutors don't care about high school rumors, in general. why bring a case against you if they don't have the hard evidence to put you away? >> i think that they thought they had an ace in the hole and that they knew that this was true and they were going to run with it. i can assure you now after the fact, seeing the evidence, knowing what they have, knowing what they know, they should have never taken it this far. >> prosecutors did have those texts, but what they didn't have was a statement from the boy, cody, a major hurdle for prosecutor sarah farmer. >> the victim wasn't cooperating. >> correct. or his parents. >> that makes your job a lot tougher. >> it does. it makes it tougher to prove a sex crime when we don't have
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someone to say, we had sex. >> what's more, in a bizarre twist, cody york's parents were coming to court hearings and sitting with sara's parents. >> not only was it a lack of cooperation, it was adamant support for sara jones. that certainly impacted our case. >> and then there was the unspoken problem. >> i don't think that society looked at him as a victim the way they might if it was a young female student and a much older man. >> he may be getting high fives in the hallways. >> absolutely. >> if everyone is saying, drop this case. the victim is saying drop the case, sara jones is saying drop the case, everyone seems to be fine. why not just drop it and move on to something more serious? why use taxpayer money on that? >> it's my job. i'm a prosecutor. i'm not hired to represent any one particular person, i represent the citizens of the community. >> she wasn't the only one preparing for battle. sara's defense lawyer, eric
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deeters, was ready for a fight, too. he calls himself the bulldog. >> they're obsessed, in my humble opinion, with getting her. she's a bengal cheerleader, so they have their pre conceptikpr of she thinks she's so popular, she thinks she can get away with this, we're going to show her. and they get obsessed with trying to get somebody instead of letting it go. just let it go! >> prosecutors aren't backing down. >> they will. >> you think they will. >> absolutely. i've gotten teased a little bit that i have these aces up my sleeve. >> do you? >> oh, yeah, we've got aces. >> one of them? sara jones herself. not just a client anymore. the court allowed sara to take a job working for deeters as his legal secretary. she even wrote motions for her own case. >> you've read every page in these files. >> yes. this is my life, so who is going
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to fight harder to save their life than yourself? >> but sara's life was in limbo. >> actually, i'm exiting my 21st week of home incarceration. >> she revealed her fears in personal video diaries for "dateline." >> everything is coming to a close, coming to a head, so i'm beyond terrified as to what the unknown is. >> her trial was around the corner. both sides armed and ready. but hold on. sara was about to shock everyone in open court. >> i want to take responsibility for my actions. >> well, there you go. coming up, sara's surprise set everyone reeling. then she explains herself to us. >> it is literally the saying, the truth will set you free. >> when "crossing the line" continues. friend is getting married in l.a.is getting married there's no way i'm missing that. then i heard about hotwire and
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sara jones had her game face on, ready for her trial on sex abuse charges. and the stakes were high. if convicted, she could be a registered sex offender and face up to ten years in prison. >> the nerves were starting to set in. this is what i had been waiting for. >> then just two days before trial, a dramatic development in the case. both sides were summoned to court for an emergency hearing. cody york had a front row seat right next to sara's dad. sara jones and the prosecutor had reached a plea deal. >> do you swear that the testimony you're about to give in this manner will be the truth, so help you god? >> yes, ma'am. >> sara, who always maintained her innocence, would have to admit to the court and to the world that she was guilty.
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>> i sent sexually explicit text messages to cody york. i had sexual contact with cody york while he was a student and i was a teacher at height school. >> a total reversal from sara jones. the very next day she sat down with "dateline" for a new interview. >> you stood up in open court and admitted, i lied, i had sex with him, i had a relationship with him? >> as anybody knows, it's hard to admit your mistakes, and you hope that people will forgive you. you know the saying, the truth will set you free, it was like the stress fell off of me and i didn't have to hide anymore. >> in exchange for a guilty plea, sara's charges were reduced. she was sentenced to five years probation, no jail time, no sex offender registry. >> you were a teacher, he was a student. >> right. >> did you know that was wrong? >> absolutely that's wrong.
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there's no gray area. it is wrong for a teacher to have any type of relationship that crosses the line with a student. i get that. >> you get that? >> absolutely. >> do you feel guilty about what you did? >> yeah, what did i was wrong. i feel guilty as to what happened and that other people were hurt in this, in a sense from our families having to go through this. >> have you ever talked on the phone or through text messages or e-mails or anything with any sexual contact? >> no. >> you lied to law enforcement. you said you didn't have a relationship outside of school, but they knew that you had been texting with him. >> i had been blindsided. i had no idea that it was even in the realm of possibilities that they had his text messages. i lied out of fear, and again, that's wrong, but when you're trying to protect yourself and you are just trying to -- i didn't know what to do. >> i'm going to the transcripts of our interview. you even lied to us.
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>> what did i say? >> i said to you, did you ever have sex with this student? you said, no, no, it was never like that. no. >> that's partly true. it was never like that. there's a fine line about telling the truth, lying -- >> you did have sex with him, though. you said no to that question. >> well, openly in an interview, you can't really come out and express what the facts of the case are. we're talking about a criminal court case. it would not be very smart for me on an interview to come out and tell you the truth when i had a court case in a couple months. >> do you swear or affirm the testimony you're about to give in this matter will be the truth, so help you god? >> yes. >> sara's mother cheryl struck a deal, too, also pleading guilty to a reduced charge. >> detell me what you did. >> i sent a text message to cody, and the text message said, get rid of the phone. >> sara made you lie for her.
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hide this. >> i hid it in the fact that, yes, i did send a text message. did i destroy anything? no. i just did what i needed to do. i supported my daughter and loved her unconditionally knowing full well that at some point in time the truth had to come out. >> a lot of moms are probably watching this right now saying, look, i would do the same thing for my kid. >> sure. >> i would lie, i would protect them at all costs. then there are others who say, you know what, you're supposed to set the example. you're supposed to teach them you don't lie, and i'm sorry you made a bad choice, but here are the consequences. >> yeah. and, you know, i understand that side of it, too. >> cheryl did pay a price. forced into early retirement from her job as a school principal. >> after 35 years, i walked out, and that was it. didn't -- couldn't clean out my office, couldn't say goodbye, couldn't tell my teachers i was
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retiring. nothing. >> cheryl and sara have both come clean. now it's cody's turn. >> you had this giant secret you were trying to keep from people, from everyone. >> very difficult. >> the teenage boy at the heart of it all tells his side of the story for the first time. >> coming up, cody york opens up about the beginning of the affair. who hit on whom? >> that's how it started. >> when "dateline" continues. . and lunesta®(eszopiclone) can help you get there. like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. lunesta should not be taken together with alcohol. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness,
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we've heard from sara jones. we've heard from police and the prosecutor. but no one has ever heard from cody york, until now. >> i'm not used to seeing my face on the media at all, and it was just -- it was every moment. >> cody sat down with "dateline" for an exclusive interview, a young man on the verge of adulthood. under the law, the victim of a sex crime committed by his teacher, sara jones. >> you don't like to be called a victim. >> i don't like to be called a victim because i wasn't a victim.
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she didn't do anything to me. >> she didn't use power of authority over you? >> no, not at all. >> cody says to truly understand what happened, you need to hear him tell it, how sara entered his life years ago. he says their families mingled in the same small town social circles. >> we were friends before i was even in high school and she was a teacher. i could talk to her about anything. she was my support system and she was my best friend. >> so when cody had ms. jones for freshman english, there was already a bond. a strange dynamic for a teacher and student. >> i never looked at her as a teacher. i don't think i even called her ms. jones ever before. >> by cody's senior year, sara was all he could think about. >> do you remember the moment you said to yourself, you know what, i think i may have feelings for this girl? >> i don't know the exact moment, but outside of school it would just come along. it would just hit me harder and
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harder and harder every single time, and that's just how it started. >> in fact, cody said sara didn't prey on him, he's the one who pursued her. even as sara walked down the aisle with another man. >> sara got married to nathan. what did you make of that marriage? >> i knew they weren't going to last. i knew that she deserved more, and i knew that we were going to end up together. i just knew it. >> even then? >> yes. >> did you say that to her? >> yeah. i said it to her. >> sara felt it, too. their nine-year age difference didn't seem to matter. they crossed the line and had sex. >> before you consummated the relationship, did you realize, you know what, sara can get in a lot of trouble for this. >> absolutely. >> but you guys still did it? >> yeah, because it was worth it. but i never in a million years thought this would happen. >> you never thought it would
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get to this point? >> absolutely not. >> there was no turning back. now it was all about covering it up. >> you had this giant secret you were trying to keep from people, from everyone. >> it was very difficult. because i wanted to be able to tell my friends, this is my girlfriend. >> did your friends say to you, dude, did you do this? >> yeah, absolutely. almost every single day. >> what did you say to them? >> no. >> you lied? >> yeah. i just kept my mouth closed. >> and sara needed him to keep his mouth closed if ever questioned. >> honestly, in my mind, as dumb as it may sound, and i admit it, that i literally thought nothing could happen to me unless cody turned me in. >> you knew he wasn't going to do that? >> i knew he wasn't going to do that. >> did you and sara ever say to yourself, look, we can't admit what's going on, deny, deny, deny. >> absolutely. she knew i had her back. >> you felt like this was airtight. >> yeah. >> how could they ever prove
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anything? >> that's exactly what i thought. >> but little did they know, investigators were one step ahead of them. they had those steamy and incriminating texts. >> where did you get these? >> after that game-changing police interrogation, sara and cody felt they were backed into a corner. >> i was a nervous wreck. i would just lay on my bed and cry just because i knew she didn't deserve to be in trouble and i did not want anything to happen to her at all. >> it was time to drop the bomb on their families. >> we sat both our parents down and we came out with it, we told them everything. we had to. we knew at that point in time that once the police were involved, we were caught. >> the jig was up. >> uh-huh. >> it was nerve-racking. but both families were very understanding. th >> they weren't like, what were you two thinking? >> of course they were, they were saying we were dumb and everything, but -- you know. >> when they told you, what was
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your mindset? >> i wanted to wring her neck. i was like, what in the blank were you thinking. >> you weren't laughing? >> no, no, i was sick. >> sara's parents had a choice to make, tell the police the truth or protect their daughter? in the end, they chose their daughter. >> was it hard for you to keep this bottled up inside? >> it was hard. it was very hard. because i didn't want to be dishonest, and i didn't want to portray that she was totally innocent in that, and i don't think i did. i mean, some people may look at me and say that i just was a bold-faced liar. i don't feel like i was. i said multiple times, she's not totally innocent, but she's not what they're trying to make her out to be. >> when sara was indicted sitting on house arrest, the court had cut her off from cody,
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banned from seeing him, calling him or texting him. that, she says, was the worst part of all. >> it was very hard to not be able to contact him. i mean, if you can imagine what it's like to not be able to see your best friend for a long time, six months, i struggled with it daily. i cried daily. >> what was it like being apart? >> the hardest six months i had to deal with ever. and i wish that i could have been on house arrest and she didn't. >> but nobody said anything about twitter. >> i follow you on twitter. here are some of the things you've tweeted. i know soon we'll be together and i can't wait till then. i can conquer the world with one hand as long as you're holding the other. were those messages for cody. >> we used twitter as communication when we were not allowed to communicate. i could tweet it and if he read it, he knew i was thinking about him. >> the sneaking around, the family embarrassment, the guilty plea. after all of it, they walk out of court holding hands. >> coming up, a teacher forced
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out. a student put through the wringer. reputations shredded. if you think you know how this story ends, think again. >> he says, sara, you look so beautiful in your mug shot. that's how i know he really loves me. >> sara and
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to sara and cody, this is their coming out party, a once forbiddena fair shrouded in secrecy now on full display. >> he's wonderful. i absolutely adore everything. if he does have flaws, i adore them. >> i love everything about her. literally everything. >> just one day after sara's emotional guilty plea --
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>> i had sexual intercourse with cody york while he was a student and i was a teacher at the high school. >> she sat down with cody york for an exclusive interview. >> is she a good girlfriend? >> she's the best girlfriend. >> why is she the best girlfriend? >> because she's so nice, she doesn't get mad. >> we haven't been around each other that much, so just wait. >> she says it's the kind of time they share together that matters. >> he's seen me break down and be at my lowest. if you can love someone at their lowest, that says a lot. if you can love somebody after you've seen my mug shot, that's big right there. he says, sara, you look so beautiful in your mug shot. that's how i know he really loves me. >> she can break down in front of me, be her worst in front of me and it makes me love her even more. >> why? >> because she can be herself around me, she can do whatever
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she wants around me. >> there are people who will watch this and say, look, this was borne out of lies, borne out of a cover-up and something that was wrong, so how can something right come out of that? >> we made a poor choice together, but that doesn't mean we can't find happiness at the end of the day, and we will. >> it doesn't really matter what other people think. and we are proving people wrong because i know that we will be together. >> and believe it or not, after everything, their parents are behind them. >> if they can build a relationship based on their faith and their love and this is what they truly feel that they're called to do, i'll support her. >> you support them as a couple? >> i will support them, yes. >> one thing is clear, sara and do cody on out in a major way, posting these photos on line from a road trip together. while they may be ready to ride off into the sunset, back at home, some say damage has been
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done. jim hanna is a reporter for the kentucky enquirer. >> when sara jones walked out of the courtroom hand in hand with the victim, i think a lot of people watched that on television and thought she was flaunting to the community what she had gotten away with. >> your girlfriend has admitted to a sex crime. >> she doesn't have to admit to a sex crime. we're in a relationship. there was no harm done. >> sara says she was wrong to agree to this. do you agree? >> wrong because i'm young, wrong because i dated a position of authority. >> cody is 18 years old. he is not a victim. he wanted this just as much as i did and this is something that we decided together, and regardless of how guilty i feel and what mistake i did make, i don't believe that i deserve to have that role as a sex offender or jail time. >> so the fact that she accepted the deal, i'm happy.
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>> sara's lawyer, eric deeters, who had those aces up his sleeve calls the plea deal a victory. >> i want to really thank shamsidden abdur-rahesarah farmer and the special prosecutor for greagreeing to t deal. >> what's your take-away. >> teachers and students having relationships does matter. it's illegal, and it's important that we give our time and attention to it and do something to stop it. >> sara jones will never teach again. that's part of the deal. and, she says, she never wants to cheer again. no, sara jones wants to be a lawyer. >> i plan on taking the lsat in the spring and then starting law school in the fall. i know that's a big career change, going from teaching to being a lawyer. if you love to do what you're
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doing, then that's what you should be doing. >> cody just enrolled in college. >> what are you going to do, cody? >> well, i plan on just graduating college and getting my marketing degree and find a job from there. i mean, isn't that what college students do? >> two lives just getting started, really. and for once, they say, they're taking it slow. >> nobody can ever say where something is going. you don't know what's going to happen or what the future holds for us. we are just taking it day by day. >> you have told me on multiple occasions you just want the truth to come out, and in the end the truth will. >> yes. >> but you've lied. is the truth out now? why should we believe you? >> that's all i ever said, i want the truth to come out. >> is this the final truth? >> this is the truth. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. from nbc news in washington,
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the world's longest-running television program, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. good sunday morning. this is inauguration day for president obama. the public ceremony is tomorrow. but according to the constitution, his second term officially begins today. moments ago the vice president was officially sworn in, and at noon today the president will take his official oath of office during a small private ceremony in the blue room of the white house. so the stage is set as well at the u.s. capitol for the inaugural address and public swearing in tomorrow. the president kicked off the weekend festivities yesterday with a day of service, and the first lady hosted a special concert for children of military families last night. >> this is what inauguration is all about. it's about celebrating who we are as americans and all the things that makes this country so great. and when i think about who we are, when i think about what makes america great, i think about all of you.
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>> on tuesday, it's back to work for congress, and there are two big issues that are going to dominate the beginning of the president's second term. guns and the nation's debt. joining me now to debate those issues, chuck schumer of new york and newly elected republican senator ted cruz of texas. welcome back as senator cruz to "meet the press." back to both of you. i want to start on the gun debate. because as i say, even before the second term is officially underway thissy is bait is well underway. here are the highlights of what the president wants to accomplish. universal background checks. he'd like to pursue a ban on high capacity magazines. an assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004. and he'd like stricter laws on gun trafficking. but senator schumer, just as i challenged wayne lapierre of the nra very hard when this came up, i challenge you as well with a question of, is this really going to make a difference? and rich lawry wrote something
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that caught my attention in "the national review." no one can write a law against mothers owning guns that one day might be turned against them by deranged sons who then commit horrific acts of murder-suicide. shooting rampages are hard to prevent because they are so often committed by young men with no criminal records who want to die. these are adult facts that don't intrude on the childish world of white house policy making. he notes adam lanza in newtown, his own mother of course passed a background check. >> here's the bottom line. these laws are not perfect. and you'll always find certain exceptions. but they make a huge difference. every major person who has studied the brady law, which is the most significant gun safety law we've passed in the last 20 years has said it has reduced gun violence dramatically. law enforcement is totally for the brady law. and the idea that felons or people who are mentally infirm or people who are spousal

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